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VIDEO: Pollinator plants take root behind Oak Bay guide hall

Youth group builds nature slope behind Bowker Hall

A path runs behind the Oak Bay fire hall, police station, scout hall and guide hall before petering out behind the ball diamond of Fire Fighters Park.

An eagle tree stands tall to one side, close to the Monterey Avenue entrance, and blackberry brambles fill a segment on the other side, behind the two youth meeting halls.

Beyond that, but ahead of the ball fields, tiny pink blossoms of sea blush, camas, bleeding heart and the mingling greens of yarrow and miner’s lettuce provide a pop of colour to the grass. At the top of the sloping green space, light metal cages protect recently added bushes of Oregon grape, red flowering current and Pacific plum.

READ ALSO: Girl Guides plant flowers in Oak Bay to celebrate Earth Day

“It would be nice to make an area here where we can have outdoor meetings,” said Christina Johnson-Dean, gesturing to the small expanse of worn concrete between the slope and Bowker Hall. “And we’re right here next to a beautiful slope where we put native plants and flowering plants because we’re working on the Bee Aware badge.”

Johnson-Dean, a Trefoil Guild member, has long organized cleanups and native plant removal in picturesque Anderson Hill Park. At the slope behind Bowker Hall, the plan is to remove invasive plants and add hearty native species along the path past the established plum tree that already blooms behind the scout hall. They’re just held up by lingering fencing and a tangle of stubborn blackberry.

The project started spring 2022, but underground infrastructure work interrupted. This year, some of those plants came back, Johnson-Dean said.

The new plants are taking hold well, and the kids are enjoying the process.

“They love getting out here and digging in the dirt,” Johnson-Dean said of the guides who planted there while learning about native species, pollination and the Garry oak ecosystem.

Most of the Chatham District units – 200-plus youngsters and leaders – meet in Bowker Hall and where visiting units stay while enjoying the capital city.

READ ALSO: Residents encouraged to play pick up sticks at Anderson Hill in Oak Bay

Christina Johnson-Dean points out where native plants thrive on a hillside behind the Oak Bay guide hall. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Chatham District guides look to build a pollinator area behind Bowker Hall, the guide building on Monterey Avenue in Oak Bay. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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